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Biomedical Engineering


Although the discipline of bioengineering generally involves many facets of electrical and computer engineering, our current research is focused in six areas:

  1. bioelectromagnetics, which involves the use of electromagnetic fields to probe biological function as well as to develop useful diagnostics and therapeutic instruments;
  2. neurobiological engineering, in which we endeavor to explore brain function using bioelectrical concepts and techniques as well as aid the development of advanced computer and "synthetically intelligent" systems;
  3. biomedical instrumentation;
  4. functional MRI;
  5. optics and holography; and
  6. specialized semiconductor devices.

Graduate Courses

Neural Signals and Functional Brain Imaging, (ECEN 5811)
Neural Systems and Physiological Control, ( ECEN 5821)
Brains, Minds, and Computers, (ECEN 5831)
as well as regular special topics courses addressing current applications of electrical engineering in medicine and biology.

Research Topics

Our work includes a mixture of electrical engineering, physics, chemistry and biology, with an emphasis on neurophysiology at the molecular and cellular levels. Current topics include the development of theoretical models for the effects of electrical and magnetic fields on biological systems, in both power line and radio frequencies, including cell phones. We are also interested in the effects DC magnetic fields and their gradients may have on pain. Additionally, we are interested in comparing computer function and brain function at the molecular and cellular levels. Other related activity in our group includes work on functional MRI, the development of a rapid technique for sequencing DNA and other large biological molecules, and microscope imaging systems with extended depth of field.


F.S. Barnes (Ph.D., Stanford), physics, electrical engineering.

Carol Cogswell (M.S., Oregon), microscopes with extended depth of focus

F.G. Meyer (Ph.D., INRIA, France), medical imaging, image compression, wavelets.

R. Mihran (Ph.D., University of Colorado), optical and electrical biosensors, electrophysiology, bio-instrumentation.

K. Newman (Ph.D., Georgia Institute of Technology), bio-instrumentation, computer engineering.

B. VanZeghbroeck (Ph.D., University of Colorado) semiconductor devices

Emeritus Faculty

H. Wachtel (Ph.D., New York University), biophysics, physiology, electrical engineering.


Bioelectromagnetic facilities include a shielded room, microelectrode fabrication instruments, stimulators, physiological data acquisition systems, high-power microwave sources and measuring equipment. Optical facilities include a general optical lab with optical table, lasers, and optoelectronic instrumentation. Additional extensive laboratory facilities exist within the Bioserve Space Technologies Center. Our group also has access to extensive computer and solid state fabrication facilities, and the Walter Eidoloth Laboratory with its large excimer laser.

Current Research Support

Research support is provided by collaborative industrial grants. Some fellowship support is available through the Optical Science and Engineering Program (OSEP), and the Collins Fellowship for Optics.